UAE’s ailing President Sheikh Khalifa dies aged 73

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The United Arab Emirates’ President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan died aged 73 on Friday, state media stated, after battling sickness for a number of years.

The president of the oil-rich Gulf state, who was hardly ever seen in public, is probably going to get replaced by his half-brother, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, who was already seen because the UAE’s de facto ruler.

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“The Ministry of Presidential Affairs has mourned to the UAE people, Arab and Islamic nations and the world the death of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan,” the official WAM information company tweeted.

The ministry introduced 40 days of mourning, with flags at half-mast from Friday and work suspended in the private and non-private sectors for the primary three days.

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Sheikh Khalifa took over because the UAE’s second president in November 2004, succeeding his father because the 16th ruler of Abu Dhabi, the richest of the federation’s seven emirates.

He has hardly ever been seen in public since 2014, when he had surgical procedure following a stroke, though he has continued to concern rulings.

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The reason for demise was not instantly launched.

The UAE, a former British protectorate that was based in 1971, has gone from desert outpost to booming state in its brief historical past, fuelled by its oil wealth and Dubai’s rise as a buying and selling and monetary centre.

The Arab world’s second-biggest financial system behind Saudi Arabia has additionally begun to wield rising political affect, filling an area ceded by conventional powers reminiscent of Egypt, Iraq and Syria.

The nation of some 10 million additionally joined army campaigns in Libya and Yemen and broke ranks with a lot of the Arab world to ascertain ties with Israel in 2020.

– Frail determine –

The bearded Sheikh Khalifa had lower a frail determine on his occasional public appearances, whereas his half-brother hosted world leaders and led diplomatic forays overseas.

“The Emirates has lost its virtuous son and leader of the ‘stage of empowerment’ and the trustee of its blessed journey,” Mohammed bin Zayed tweeted on Friday.

“His stances, achievements, wisdom, generosity and initiatives are in every corner of the nation… Khalifa bin Zayed, my brother… may God have mercy on you and grant you access to paradise.”

Sheikh Khalifa, who had no formal increased schooling, led the UAE as Dubai emerged as a tourism and commerce hub and Abu Dhabi pumped oil as a key OPEC participant.

He got here to the rescue of Dubai when it was hit by the worldwide monetary disaster in 2009, extending a multi-billion-dollar lifeline to the debt-laden emirate.

Dubai’s ruler, UAE vp Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, stated the nation was mourning “with hearts filled with sadness”.

The US mission to Abu Dhabi referred to as Sheikh Khalifa “a true friend of the United States”, whereas Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani additionally supplied their condolences.

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